On Kids and Dogs

By Steve Barber

I'd planned to write an amusing travel story for my second guest post, all about the funny things that happened while vacationing with my kids when they were young.  There had to be a ton of material I could mine out of those pleasant times, I thought. Then memories of those road trips bored into my brain.

Take, for example, this typical fun-filled backseat dialog between the two siblettes:

“I hate you.”

“I hate you more.”

“Oh, yeah? Well, at least I'm not adopted.”

“I'm not 'dopted neither. I'm bornded.”

“Nuh-uh. We got you from the Shelter. You were in a cage.”

“Was not.”

Lower lip begins quivering.

“Was too. They took you 'cause they felt sorry for you. You were so ugly nobody else wanted you.”


Much wailing and copious tears.


Obviously, these memories are too painful for me to write about. But since I already mentioned shelters and adoptions, I guess I'll write instead about Matilda, the dog Hunny and I adopted a few weeks ago.

The first thing you have to know is that Hunny's been whining about wanting a dog for some time. The second thing you have to understand is that Hunny is insane. I'm not going to dwell on it here, but anyone who has an unnatural hatred of crickets and who keeps the garbage in the refrigerator is not normal, you know?

Anyhow, Hunny has a way of grabbing an issue by the neck and shaking it until I eventually give in to her demands. Still, I tried to get me a few man points by telling her I'd agree to a dog but only if we got a male.

”I don't want a male,” Hunny said. “I don't like the way they pee.”

It occurred to me they probably wouldn't much like the way she pees either, but it didn't seem like a good idea to mention it, and I let it go.

So on April 1st I found myself in the lobby of the Humane Society. After Hunny made me pretend to admire every other cat in the shelter's Kittyville, I'd inhaled enough cat dander to send the allergies above Code Red. I quickly exited the building and parked myself on a bench outside, gasping dander-free air and wondering what I'd gotten myself into.

As it turns out, what I'd gotten myself into was a two year old Australian Shepherd.

Understand, the dog is fine. But Hunny isn't, remember? That's why we now have a $250 dog bed, three leashes, three collars (different colors for different days), five kinds of scientifically formulated treats, enough dog toys to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a bag of kibble big enough to feed a kennel full of starving Mastiffs for the better part of a month. And this food? It's not Alpo, no. It's some specially prepared combination of kelp, krill and squid, supplemented with mandrake shavings, ginseng froth, beta keratin and cod kidneys. At least it must be considering what it costs. Bottom line? As of today we're about $750 into supplies for a five dollar dog. It ain't right, I tell you.

I have a feeling that "Hunny and the Dog" is going to be an ongoing story. So, stay tuned for updates. And pray for me. Or send money. Both would be good.

Steve Barber is secure enough in his sexuality that he doesn't mind being called an Erma at all, but he does wonder if his writing makes his butt look fat. Check out his hardly-ever-updated blog at http://whatdoyoumeanishouldstartablog.blogspot.com/, and look for his short story, "Arkie Studabaker's Very Bad Day" in the soon-to-be-published anthology, No Rest for the Wicked (Rainstorm Press)


  1. Next time (I hear you grumbling, "next time, my ass, there ain't gonna be no next time) Hunny should do what I did; brought it home without telling anyone. "Surprise! We have a golden retriever puppy! Don't you just love him?" They did love him. I figure I spared Mr. Stew all that man point stuff.

    1. No, see, the man stuff is about all we have left anymore. It's not that Golden's are bad. Dawg knows I love Golden's to death. We have a Golden office dog who's a real bud. We also have a Norwich Terrier office dog and there's some kind of other dog that sort of looks like a Boston Terrier, but sits in her bed all day grumping at anybody that walks by her. She may be a Republican. I'm not sure. So it's not that I don't like dogs. I love dogs. It's just that the one Hunny and I got should have been a male. Then I might have been able to relate better. All of the office dogs I deal with are female. So, clearly, you see my problem. Right?

  2. Next time she heads for the dog food aisle she's going to be looking for a new brand. They always do. Probably it will be because there is too much kelp and Gingseng froth and not enough potatoes and sea air in your current mother lode. It will probably also be time for a few new toys so that she won't be so bored.
    Your best chance on the food is to point out Matilda's canine teeth and ask Honey when the last time was she saw a wolf digging in a potato field for its dinner. Drag her to the Alpo aisle while she is trying to answer that in a manner that will rationalize another organic vegeterian version of Kibbles.

    1. Well, see, I've got a problem with this too, Porter. Tilly had one upper and one lower canine teeth pulled at the Humane Society. Seems they were broken. Had she broken them chewing on a chain? Had someone hit her? Dunno. She won't say. But she only looks like 1/2 of a carnivore because of the extractions. Of course, she lisps when she barks, which is kind of cute. Besides there's that Australian accent anyhow, so it's really hard to understand what she's trying to say. But she does seem unusually fond of Cheetos. Whatever you do, don't tell Hunny I've given her some.

  3. Haggis, one of my Chihuahuas is a male and the only thing that keeps him out of the crockpot is his adorableness. I have a Swiffer WetJet permanently set on "mopping pee puddles off corners." No more boy dogs . . . eveh!

    1. Ah, but without boy dawgs there cannot be girl dawgs, Terri. And between me and you, girl dawgs pee funny.

  4. Oh the shelter trips. No one is safe!

    Girl dawgs especially pee funny right after they've had their little girly bits deactivated, and before the anesthesia fully wears off.

    My bother used to tell me that I was a grub that Dad found under a leaf in the garden. I was such a fat little grub, he just couldn't leave me in the garden and risk some animal eating me.

    Unfortunately, that story has been passed off to Mr. Vagabond to continue forever...


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